• Why Investor Relations?

    For more than 40 years, the CFA Institute has advocated for efficient capital markets that are ethical, transparent, and provide investor protections. One of the Institute’s guiding principles states: “Investors need complete, accurate, timely and transparent information from securities issuers.”

  • Why InsuranceIR?

    Insurance companies face unique challenges when communicating with investors and InsuranceIR is uniquely suited to help with industry-specific support.

    The primary purpose of this blog is to offer specific ideas on how insurance companies can achieve that objective.

    The supporting pages offer information on InsuranceIR's capabilities and how firm principal Heather J. Wietzel can help your company improve your investor communications.

  • Pages

  • Copyright 2012
  • Advertisements

From Q4 Web Systems: Useful Website Tips

Excellent insight from Q4 Web Systems: Beyond the pdf: Alternative Ways to Present Content Effectively on your IR Website

Excellent ideas for consideration.  In particular, I strongly agree with providing materials in topical groupings. Website visitors do not necessarily know (or care) when material became available, or what channel was used for distribution (SEC filings vs. news).

Visitors are much more like to know the topic in which they are interested, e.g., third-quarter earnings, a merger, etc., so groupings work well.

Advertisements

Quick Tip: WebFilings just for IR

WebFilings — which I initially discussed in this post — has added an item to their blog called “Investor Relations: An Early Fan of WebFilings.”

I’ll admit one reason I like their post is because of the kind things they said about me.  Thanks! (Remember — I have no business relationship with the organization.)

More important, WebFilings makes a key point.  They note that their solution can be adopted solely for the documents managed by the investor relations team, creating tremendous advantages. (It does not need to be simultaneously implemented for the 10-Ks and 10-Qs).

The Missing Link … at least for SEC filings and other investor communications

My corporate and consulting experience makes it hard for me to imagine serving in an investor relations capacity without taking a significant role in shaping the strategic content of the written/electronic materials that are directed at the investor audience (ranging from the SEC filings, e.g., 10-Ks ,10-Qs and proxy, to earnings releases, fact sheets, website materials, presentations, and more). Even the best IRO can talk or meet with only a subset of current and potential investors, many more learn about the company or stay up-to-date via written/electronic materials.

I know that including SEC filings on my list of key documents distinguishes me from many of my peers, but I firmly believe my view is bolstered by SEC commentary on the topic, as I’ve noted in previous posts.  The filings also are very important to the board and senior management (and are closely scrutinized by investors).

But I also know that convoluted processes make it very difficult for IROs to participate in everything that needs their attention on a strategic level, particularly the SEC filings.

I learned a few days ago about a possible solution – a simple, relatively inexpensive tool from WebFilings – that I think is the “missing link” to solve a long list of corporate disclosure process problems, including IR participation in the SEC filings.  (Note that I have no business relationship with WebFilings although they have been kind enough to give me a product demo and some background information.) Continue reading

Quick Tip: A New Tool

Dominic Jones, founder of IRWebReport.com and President of IR Web Reporting International Inc., is on a roll! (Just last week, he did a great piece on the future of news releases, as noted in my post “The Basics on Advisory Releases.”

Earlier today, he posted “Make your IR website financial tables interactive with the free Excel Web App.” I have no direct experience with the Excel tool he’s describing.  BUT, it appears to provide the solution to a stubborn website challenge faced by investor relations/accounting teams that don’t have huge IT support groups.

Quick thought — with a tool of this type, companies don’t need to create a new financial supplement each quarter, they can just add columns! That’s a lot of time saved, for a lot of people, particularly when you consider the typical supplement for an insurance company can run 20-30 pages.

Plus, making information available in formats that are useful to investors is just a good idea.  Thanks to Dominic for keeping us focused what’s important and aware of key tools!

The Basics on Advisory Releases

Kudos to Dominic Jones for putting together a useful reference guide called Step by step: how to do an advisory earnings release.

Dominic is the founder of IRWebReport.com and President of IR Web Reporting International Inc. He has more than 20 years of experience in journalism, investor education and online investor relations communications.

I’ll admit I have a few — very modest — quibbles with the exact steps he describes.  But I’m in general agreement with the concept.

In my view, advisory releases of web-based information are the future of public company disclosure. First off, the process should just be simpler (after any necessary learning curve).

Second, the potential — cost- and effort-free — improvement in communications seems unlimited. A very basic example:

  • Discussion of quarterly premiums includes a statement that “our new BOP product has been well received by agents and policyholders …”
  • Elsewhere on the company’s site, as part of the organization’s ongoing marketing communications, there is a page devoted to that new product, with coverage details and feature highlights. The marketing and communication teams have had that language (for external viewing) approved by all relevant internal parties.
  • A motivated investor might have made the connection, now it is simple and we can do it for them with almost no effort.

I would add that companies also benefit from greater control over the appearance, format and accuracy of the information being disclosed and should see substantial cost savings.

Hopefully investors will benefit because companies can focus greater resources on content and less on process (again, after the learning curve).  In any case, investors should see companies providing information in more user-friendly formats, e.g., excel spreadsheets for tabular data.

What This Slide Is Supposed To Show …

I’m still reviewing presentation handouts from AIFA, looking for ideas on how companies can best tell their stories.

The process is reminding me that all too often the best information is hidden behind a comment that begins, now “what this slide is supposed to show” is …

If you find yourself with that line in the remarks for your investor presentation, you probably have a slide in the deck that has great information on a complex topic. But it is a slide that is not gaining you the value it deserves.

To resolve this problem, consider supplementing the work of your communications team on the presentation with input from your marketing or sales group. Those individuals are communicators who know your company (from a slightly different perspective). Asking them to look at your investor presentation with you once or twice a year can give new insight to help you effectively shape these complex points.

Conference Call Registration

I learned of a “pet peeve” from an insurance analyst this week. He had a legitimate objection to being asked to register every quarter for the conference calls of companies he knows well. Keep in mind, professional investors may listen to 50 or more calls during a single earnings season.

A simple solution can make life easier for your company’s closest followers.  Even better, the solution also can help make sure that your company’s call is not overlooked and that investors likely to ask questions are participating in the call rather than the webcast.

As background, announcements of upcoming conference calls often encourage those interested in the company to access the webcast. Webcast participation usually is encouraged because there is no “per user” expense for the company. Those interested in dialing in are asked to register to receive the number.

I recommend working to put your company’s call directly on the calendar of your top followers by sending them a “meeting invitation” after the broadly disseminated announcement of the call. The invitation would include the dial-in number and any necessary pass code.

Top followers normally would include all analysts covering your company, your top holders and selected targets on both the buy- and sell-side. (I do not recommend using these invitations to introduce your company to new investors.) Others who ask for the dial-in number would be registered in your company’s normal fashion.

Your followers will appreciate the convenience.